Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More


There's Always Something!

Gary Farrell Vineyards, Russian River Valley, and Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford
California, USA

October 9 and 15, 2021

"For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin.
At last it dawned on me that these obstacles are  my life."
... The Most Reverend Alfred D'Souza, Archbishop Emeritus of Agra (Taj Mahal diocese), Uttar Pradesh, India
This essay, There's Always Something!, is the companion piece to

Photography by Laurence Platt

4:42:28pm PDT Tuesday March 22, 2016
The view from Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford, California, USA

In California we have wildfires (we have earthquakes too and mudslides, but in this conversation that's actually besides the point). Kansas has tornadoes. Florida has hurricanes. New York has flash-floods. Hawai'i has volcanoes. Louisiana has storms and storm-surges.

This conversation isn't about the causes  of these natural phenomena (or if you prefer, these un-natural phenomena). Indeed, that particular conversation is both a pertinent and a critically important one to have for sure. No, this  conversation is about who we are  (or if you prefer, it's about who we be)  in the face of them.

Some years ago when the threat of wildfires in California became the new normal (or if you prefer, when it became the new ab-normal), I began contemplating where else would be a safer place to live. And before long, after considering multiple options both national and international, I realized the Zen-slap-across-the-head  obvious: there's always something!  There's always something untoward to deal with everywhere. There's war, there are the effects of climate change, there's always something. I'm reminded of that infamous British tourist who set out to travel the world in search of the perfect place to live, then wrote his friends saying he'd found it (really): the British Islas Malvinas  aka the Falkland islands. That was April of 1982. Three days later the Argentinian military invaded. The Falklands war had begun.

There's a place we're thrown to go to (justified or not) in the face of conflict and abnormal natural phenomena. It's complaint - as in "This isn't  it.". It's natural to go there. No, it's more than that: it's it wouldn't be human not  to go there.

Look: it's not just conflict and abnormal natural phenomena we're thrown to complain about ("This isn't it."). It's more intimate / it's way more immediate  than that. It's our relationships (or if you prefer, it's certain aspects of our relationships) which "isn't it". It's the murky feelings and emotions we wake up with in the morning which "isn't it". It's the way we know  we'll be happy once we've made enough money ... and then find out we aren't any happier with more money, which "isn't it".

I've begun inquiring if it's possible (could it be?) that "this" is all  "it" too - the conflict, the abnormal natural phenomena, the murky feelings and emotions we wake up with in the morning, the (quote unquote) unfairness  in realizing that nothing makes  us happy ... could it be that we've mis-aligned "This isn't it" only with the content  of our lives and of Life itself over which we have no say anyway, and entirely miss the say we do have over the context  of our lives and of Life itself? And listen (Gee! I really want you to get this): we have total say over the context of our lives and of Life itself even if / even when we have no say over their content.

By asserting our say over the context of our lives and of Life itself, "There's always something!"  becomes a simple, obvious enlightened truth / acceptance. It's an enlightened truth / acceptance which replaces the complaint "This isn't it" with the possibility "This is it" ie which replaces the complaint "There's always something!" with the possibility "There's always something!", regardless of the circumstances / content of our lives. That's a transformation. With the onset of this transformation, the circumstances of our lives remain unchanged (they are what they are) while the context in which we newly hold them, has shifted dramatically.

This contextual shift  renews the way we hold conflict and abnormal natural phenomena, empowering us to deal with them responsibly, powerfully, effectively.

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